Struggling Orioles slugger Chris Davis getting at least one day off 'to kind of restart'

Oakland — Chris Davis' return from an oblique injury right after the All-Star break was heralded by manager Buck Showalter as an addition that put a big presence back in the heart of the Orioles batting order.

Nearly a month removed from that, Davis is getting at least one day off to try to become that again.


The slugging first baseman was left on the bench for Thursday's series opener against the Oakland Athletics and soft-tossing right-hander Chris Smith amid a terrible slump — he entered the day 4-for-37 (.108) in his past 10 games while batting .176 since his return.

Showalter said ahead of Thursday's game that he was "just giving him a day to kind of restart," and there might be more than one such day required to get the $161 million first baseman back on track.


"We all need it now and then," Showalter said. "Just letting him have a day or so — we'll see if we take two. A lot depends on what kind of happens over the next 24 to 48 hours with some work that he is going to do."

For the decidedly streaky slugger, this season has been one where the good streaks simply haven't come frequently enough or lasted long enough to mask the spells where Davis is searching for it at the plate. On the season, he's batting .212 with a .739 OPS and 18 home runs in 85 games.

He had a five-game stretch from May 13-18 where he hit five home runs in five games, but that has been his only sustained stretch of power this season. The streaks without home runs have been much longer.

"Chris is a guy that when he's good, he can really carry it for an extended period of time," Showalter said. "And when he struggles, it can be a challenge for him — just like a lot of guys. But we're going to need him these last six weeks or so, and I have a lot of confidence that he's going to be a guy that we can count on."

Davis has saved seasons with strong stretch runs before. He hit 12 home runs from Sept. 1 on in 2015 to launch him into free agency on a high note, and the Orioles rewarded him that offseason with a seven-year, $161 million contract that made him the highest-paid player in franchise history.

But there seems to be an urgency to get him going now for more than his own sake.

Last week, when speaking about the team's resurgent second-half offense, hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh said moving rookie Trey Mancini and All-Star second baseman Jonathan Schoop into the heart of the order made things flow a little better.

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"In the middle of the order, when you have guys who aren't getting hits consistently like they have been in the past, it kind of minimizes your opportunities," Coolbaugh said. "I think with a little different look in the lineup and the guys getting some hits and getting some confidence going and getting on a roll [helps]."


However, with Davis' struggles combined with those of outfielder-designated hitter Mark Trumbo in the middle of the order before the latter missed 10 days with a rib cage strain, the possibility of that gulf in production resumed in an important part of the lineup.

With the Orioles two games under .500 entering the series in Oakland, Showalter hoped all those struggles can be left in the past, with Trumbo's return from the disabled list after a spell away and Davis' current time off proving to be useful for getting them back on track.

"Whatever's behind us — that's one of the things I tell them here — whatever got us to this point, let's go forward," Showalter said. "It was disappointing for us yesterday; we had a chance to win a series in a tough place and it just didn't happen. You can't live too much in the past. You've got to learn from it but you've also got to, in this job that these guys do and all of us do, you can't have off days mentally and emotionally.

"It's a challenge for everybody. Chris is not the only one. I was hoping that with the 10 days with Trumb, that he might get him — obviously it was a physical thing, but mentally and emotionally. It might take some time. Knowing Trumbo, he's liable to go crazy and go off for a month. Just like Chris. Those are the type of things you hold out hope, but we've won a lot of things without that happening."